Title: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Genre: YA Fantasy
Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.
The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?
To Kill A Kingdom is the debut standalone novel for Alexandra Christo and it is a book perfect for fans of Sarah J.Maas. Why? Well Alexandra and Sarah share the wonderful ability to create such extensive and deeply thought out fantasies. This is my first ever book which features Sirens, Mermaids and one which features an ocean Kingdom and I was enthralled and eager to find out more about this world from the very beginning.
The plot follows Princess Lira also known as the Princes Bain as she is due to reach her eighteenth birthday, the birthday in which she will be allowed to steal another heart. Her lack of disobedience to her mother’s cruelness means she is punished and transformed into a human. Separated from her siren song, Lira must come to terms with navigating the human world; which is something I really found interesting to read. Lira knows her ocean kingdom better than anybody and she is suddenly thrown into a whole new world which has it’s own dangers. Luckily for her, she knows the human language but it is still a test to her character to try to navigate and fit in among humans. Prince Elian is the prince of Midas, the most powerful kingdom and as he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she offers to help him destroy all sirens.
This may be the basic plot descriptions of all, but we don’t want to give everything away do we?
To say the plot of this book is a roller coaster is to say the least, it is filled with action and makes you as the reader ask questions throughout. From what is Lira going to do? Is there any redeeming qualities in her mother, the Sea Queen? All of which are answered as the story develops. What I liked most about this book is that it wasn’t predictable for me, I honestly had no clue where it could head and that is something I love. It is also a book which is easy to get into and holds a steady pace throughout.
To Kill a Kingdom is also described by many as being retelling of The Little Mermaid and it definitely has similarities. The Sea Queen, Lira’s Mother for example reminded me of Ursula in many ways, they both are conniving and evil. Lira’s Mother is truly brutal in so many ways and Lira is put to a test by her mother which is somewhat similar to Ariel striking a deal with Ursula.
The world building of To Kill a Kingdom is phenomenal. It is one which is so rich and extensive as it incorporates not only the Siren Kingdom and human kingdom but the different realms within each. There are numerous princes, sirens and mermaids all of which have different back-stories, languages and characteristics. With so much going on, I thought I might get lost but it wasn’t confusing at all. The focus of To Kill a Kingdom though is largely focused on three kingdoms in particular.
To Kill a Kingdom is divided into two POV; Lira’s and Elian’s. Which offers a well-rounded and interesting story, of course Elian does not know of Lira’s true nature so as a reader you know more than him which makes his POV more interesting to read as we can feel more suspense for whether he is ever in danger. The two different POV offered a nice contrast from one another as they are both characters who are opposites, coming from two different kingdoms they do not share the same upbringing and therefore contrasted each other in behaviour etc. There was also bantering and bickering among the two which is a familiar trait in most relationships developing like this.
I think it goes without saying that I of course fell for Lira and Elian’s story. There is a slow burning romance present which goes from a hate to love relationship and this was so interesting yet of course frustrating at times. It was also hard to choose what side to be on, Lira’s or Elian’s? They both are complex characters, should we hate them for killing or favour them? As the story begins there is a deep hatred between Sirens and Humans, of course they have different ‘cultures’ if you will therefore have different teachings, behaviours and histories. How can one be defined as a monster when they both kill in cold blood?
One of my favourite things about Lira and Elian is how they both essentially play two characters. Lira, once a siren is forced by her mother to play a human but Elian plays two characters himself. The Pirate and the future King. Which is reminiscent of Nikolai of Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone series. Elian feels most at home at the sea, but his duty to his country his bound by his father who wishes for his Son to spend more time at home so that he can one day take over the throne.
To Kill A Kingdom was a 5 star read for me. I adored every aspect of my reading experience including the beautiful cover of this wonderful story – something I had to throw a mention of into this review. In honesty I read this book not long from when it was released, it has been a few months and the story has not left me. Sadly it seems to be a standalone and it ended with it being so, but I would not be against seeing more from this duo in the future.